Some representatives of the arthropod type pose a threat to other living creatures. But there are also those that should not be feared, although there is an opinion that they are poisonous. One such species is the cross spider. It is not possible to say unequivocally whether the cruciferous spider is dangerous for humans, because the reaction to a bite depends on the characteristics of the organism. However, it is worth learning more about these forest dwellers to understand the real state of affairs.

Features and appearance

The crusader spider belongs to the family of roundworms. Araneus diadematus is the name of the cross spider. He avoids meetings with other arthropods and tries to settle where there are no other members of his species. Adults prefer the following places:

  • swamps;
  • river banks;
  • lowlands;
  • raw areas of forests;
  • the vicinity of meadows;
  • coast of lakes.

The spider is called differently: krestovik, krestovesets, krestovnik. Only because of this, everyone can remember an arthropod with a simple color and a characteristic spotted pattern on the back, which creates a figure in the shape of a cross. The shade of the body and head depends on the place where the spider lives.

Is the cruciferous spider dangerous for humans?

Common individuals with crosses of the following colors:

  • orange;
  • red;
  • gray;
  • marble;
  • almost black;
  • yellow.

Some have almost white spots. The four-spotted pattern serves as a message for insects: a bite can be dangerous. The same crucian carp can be colored differently: when it lives in a sunny area, the back becomes pale brown, and if it moves to a shady place, the color becomes saturated and darker.

Crusaders who live in places with various herbs and a large number of bright colors take a bright color. Blending in with the surrounding vegetation, the spider becomes less visible to birds that can eat it and insects that lay eggs directly in the body of arthropods. The worst enemy of the crusader is the fly Melanophora roralis. The insect takes advantage of the fact that the spider lies in wait for the prey, flies up, pierces its back and makes a nest.

The sizes of females and males differ. The first reach 10 mm in length, the second – 20 mm. Some individuals grow up to 26 mm. The body grows during the molting period, when the young individual sheds the chitinous covering. This type of arachnid has 4 eyes located on the head. Thanks to this, an ordinary cross-eyed sees not only in front of him, but also in all directions. The organs of vision are arranged in such a way that arthropods see objects indistinctly, reacting to moving contours or shadows.

A spider with a picture in the form of a cross breathes with the help of lung sacs. The touch is carried out with the help of small hairs that grow thickly all over the body. Thanks to them, the arthropod feels even the slightest fluctuation in the air nearby, and by this feature it is easiest to determine the victim, and it also better navigates in the habitat.

The spider with a cross has 8 legs, arranged symmetrically. There are 3 small claws on each foot – they are needed to cling to rough surfaces. The spider can move even on smooth surfaces. At the end of the claws there are thousands of small hairs that can only be seen under a powerful microscope. Thanks to this structure, interaction with the surface is ensured at the molecular level.

Arachnids are mainly nocturnal. During the day, the crucifer is rarely active, preferring to sit in the grass or leaves of trees, which is why it is sometimes called a “leaf beetle”.

Thanks to its color, it does not look noticeable against the background of vegetation. This species is common in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

danger from the cruciferous spider

Life cycle and reproduction

This species of spiders belongs to separate sexes: all individuals are divided into males and females. The mating season begins in August and lasts the whole month. First, the male weaves threads, extending them from the web of the uterus: this is the path along which he escapes after copulation. After that, the spider visits the partner several times, and only then does mating take place. When the female is fertilized, she eats the male, unless he manages to escape.

The queen lays eggs in a cocoon woven from web threads. It turns out a small dense bag, which the arthropod hides in a safe place and protects. Sometimes the mother carries the cocoon with her. Embryos develop from autumn to early spring, after which they are born. By summer, the webs develop into adults, and then the female dies.

In August, young individuals become sexually mature and begin to mate. This happens every year. Life expectancy is about one and a half years for females and the same for males, but the latter have a high risk of being eaten and dying earlier. Adults hibernate in the nymph stage.


The basis of the cruciferous ration is small insects. In addition to them, the arthropod also eats other representatives of the fauna. Species that the cross spider feeds on:

  • aphid;
  • flies;
  • wasps;
  • small bugs;
  • Drosophila;
  • grasshoppers;
  • dragonflies;
  • bees;
  • mosquitoes

To get food, the spider weaves a strong web. Sometimes very large insects come across her, which are able to pierce the body of the crucifer and lay eggs in it. In this case, the arthropod breaks the threads so that the dangerous victim can fly away.

Hunting takes place as follows: the individual hides in a secluded place, where threads from the main web are stretched. When the victim is caught in the net, it begins to make chaotic movements, trying to get out. Oscillations are transmitted to the spider, it approaches the victim and pierces it with its jaw apparatus.

The digestive system of the crusader is arranged in such a way that the food is digested before it enters the spider’s body. He injects digestive juice into the prey, after which the digestion process begins. When the victim’s organs dissolve, the arthropod sucks out the semi-liquid contents and saturates. If the crucifer is not hungry, it does not inject poison into the prey, but kills it and wraps it in a cocoon, then hides it in a place inaccessible to other forest dwellers.

Danger and benefit

People who are not familiar with the features of the crusader believe that it poses a threat to humans, but this is not entirely true. In fact, the arthropod is deadly to insects, and its bites can harm small animals (rats, mice). For cows, bulls and horses, the attack of the crucifer does not pose a threat. They may feel itching and burning in the bitten place, but nothing more. The same applies to people: for them, the bite is somewhat toxic, but practically safe. The affected area itches for a while, but soon the unpleasant sensations pass.

The total number of species of crusaders exceeds 2 thousand, but on the territory of Ukraine there are about 30 varieties. The features of reproduction and their life cycles are similar, the degree of danger is also approximately the same. Spiders rarely bite, more often they do not attack a person. It is laid down by nature that large living creatures cannot serve as food. Even if a spider bites, a person does not always feel it. Thus, it should not be feared. Do not confuse a cross with a “dead head”: according to the description, they are similar, but the second one has a drawing on the back that resembles a skull.

Adult crusaders bring enormous benefits to nature and people. They destroy insects that carry dangerous diseases, so they can be called sanitary workers. In addition, the web is beneficial.

Variants of its application:

  • weaving of nets, nets, tackle for fishing;
  • production of fabrics, decorative products;
  • in microbiology – studying the atmosphere and determining its composition;
  • manufacture of high-precision measuring devices.

In folk medicine, spider webs are used to disinfect cuts, scratches, and wounds. Medicinal properties of spider threads have been proven by scientists: the substance that the fibers are made of has antiseptic properties.

Remembering the benefits of an arachnid with a cross on its belly, you should not be afraid if an adult is found in the forest, in a meadow or crawls into the house. If an arthropod appeared indoors, you need to catch it and carefully release it, and in the forest – just go your own way. In no case should you catch a spider, squeeze it, tear off its legs or head. You should also not destroy the web.

Symptoms and help with a bite

A spider usually bites people if they accidentally or intentionally tear its webs. In other cases, you can not be afraid of an attack. If the spider did attack, the following symptoms may soon appear:

  • headache;
  • morbidity;
  • burning;
  • local redness of the skin;
  • itch;
  • temperature increase.

Discomfort makes itself felt no later than 5 minutes after the bite. If during this time the condition has not worsened, then you can calm down: the body reacted normally. Medicine does not know of a single case where a person would die from the bite of such a spider.

If there are unpleasant symptoms, you need to follow the following recommendations:

  1. Wash the wound with soap, then rinse with cold water to prevent infection.
  2. Apply something cold, such as a cloth dipped in ice water or dry ice.
  3. Drink an antipyretic or pain reliever if you have a headache and a high temperature.
  4. If an allergic reaction occurs, take an antihistamine.
  5. If the condition has not improved, contact the district polyclinic.


Although the crusader spider is generally not dangerous to humans, its bite can cause some discomfort. When going for a walk, you need to take care not to become a victim. Rules to be followed:

  • If you plan to spend the night in a tent, shortly before going to bed you should check whether spiders have crawled inside. Before getting dressed and putting on shoes, it is highly recommended to look around all the clothes, turn them inside out and make sure that there is no cross anywhere.
  • Bedding must be very carefully and carefully straightened, as females can hide in folds. When you see a web, you should not touch it, as the female may attack. Males are more peaceful, and they do not weave nets.
  • Having met an arthropod, it is better not to react to it in any way. You should not run away, you need to try to walk away carefully so as not to disturb the forest dweller.

Thus, the cruciferous spider is poisonous, but it does not pose a danger to humans. However, it is necessary to observe precautions, because those who are prone to allergies may develop unpleasant symptoms, although without serious consequences.

Is the cruciferous spider dangerous for humans?